Friday, September 23, 2005

A Star Is Bored (part three)

The year was 1985 and the neighborhood boys were obsessed with Dungeons & Dragons. This kind of role-playing was inferior to me, because I was an actor. But, I was obsessed with the neighborhood boys, so I played. I was also hung up on decorating my walls with posters and pages from Teen Bop. I was careful to hide my collection of C. Thomas Howell photographs from my mother. I remember her remarking on my heavily adorned walls. "Who are all these girls?" she asked.

"Those girls are Madonna!" I replied, annoyed that she was unable to recognize the female who had become her rival for the role of most important woman in my life. My favorite quote from this time came from my mother, who happened through the living room whilst I was watching a new channel called MTV. They showed music videos and this particular video was Toni Basil's "Mickey." Mom watched for a moment and then said: "That woman is older than I am!"

That fall I entered high school and looked forward to the anonymity it promised. We lived in a town adjacent to a military base, so all the army brats went to school with us civilians. There were about 3000 students and the school sprawled over two separate campuses. Freshman year, my schedule was East, West, East, West, East, West, etc. I had ten minutes between classes to go to my locker (East Campus), get my books and scurry off to my next class. It was exhausting. Almost all of my favorite classes were on West Campus, drama, art and choir. Also, WC had a better library. Every year there were two major productions put on by the school, a musical and a variety show written by the students. The musicals were usually very pedestrian, "Oklahoma" Eew!

The drama teacher was named Mamie W. and she was a grand dame. There was a rumor that Mamie had been on "General Hospital" or some other such soap, back in the day. I adored her because she was always put together perfectly. Her wardrobe was exquisite, smart pastel suits with matching jewelry and she wore high heels every single day. Compared to her, other teachers looked like....teachers. Mamie looked like a star. She took notice of me early on and suggested that I read the books in her "drama library", which I did. That when I learned about Stanislavski and the "Method." She also cultivated my writing and by my senior year, I was put in charge on writing the variety show, On Stage. The theme was "world music" which was retarded because it meant the band knew a lot of songs with geographical references, like "Kokomo" and "La Isla Bonita." It was my job to tie this altogether in some kind of amusing narrative. I took my inspiration from entertainment news shows and even managed to work myself into two different roles, the anchorman and a female reporter blatantly ripped off from Tootsie. I said "tits" in a school play and got away with it.

I was also heavily involved with Limelight and doing all kinds of shows with them outside of school. This is where I really got to experiment and explore. I was allowed to direct plays and I had developed a fondness for Tennessee Williams. I directed and starred in a version of "The Glass Menagerie" at Limelight, among other things. I had also developed a friendship with a boy named Paul, who had many similar interests. We both loved Depeche Mode and owned keyboards, so naturally, we started a band. We played one official "gig"- a Mary Kay convention at the local Holiday Inn. I have no idea what those middle-aged ladies in pink thought of our little band, which consisted of three boys playing keyboards while brooding and a girl singer who fancied herself as a young Madonna. It was a mess. Paul and I decided that we should stick to theater and incorporate the "band" into our productions. Thus, we started our own theater group, TeenStage.


Holly said...

A star may be bored, but this reader, at least, is not. More, more, more!

Saviour Onassis said...

Calm yourself, my child. For I am, as they say, "full of it."